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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Recreation and open space in urban waterfront redevelopments Johnson, Richard John


This paper considers the problem of including recreation and open spaces in urban waterfront redevelopments. The major difficulty arises in providing recreation and open spaces that will be well used and therefore easily justified in an area of relatively scarce supply and high demand, such as commonly occurs in urban waterfront redevelopments. The history and recent state of urban waterfronts was examined as were current waterfront redevelopments and their recreation and open spaces. The various types of recreation and open spaces, and the factors that commonly affect them in waterfront locations were also addressed. Case studies of San Antonio's Riverwalk, Toronto's Harbourfront, and Baltimore's Inner Harbour were discussed in detail. Research was conducted and reported on the recreation and open spaces on Granville Island in Vancouver. Peak use periods on a variety of sunny days were studied to determine how well the spaces were used, and total users, users/sq. meter, and factors affecting use were examined. The major conclusion was that on Granville Island and most other urban waterfront redevelopments, urban and marine oriented attractions serve as the most popular recreation and open spaces, and large, passive open spaces are neither in great demand or particularly well used. It was also concluded that passive forms of recreation such as walking, sitting, and viewing, were the most popular activities. It is however important to consider specific situations since they vary from site to site and local needs and conditions can alter this pattern. Finally some suggestions were made as to types of recreation and open spaces that should be considered from inclusion in future Vancouver urban waterfront redevelopments.

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